According to sources inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, stations throughout the county patrolled area have resorted to drastically reducing radio car coverage due to the continuing critical staffing shortages.
LASD stations historically have required minimum daily staffing levels established to provide a safety net for personnel working the streets to ensure officer safety.
These required staffing levels have never varied…until now.
One station in particular recently “busted” a total of five cars on a single shift, translating to five less radio cars patrolling the area on that particular day leaving the communities they service increasingly at risk.
At Sheriff Luna’s year-in-review briefing, he acknowledged that the huge burden of continuing to work under these draconian conditions could be a factor in a string of suicides in November, 2023, yet he continues to allow these conditions to continue.
Due to the continuing staffing shortages, available personnel have been overworked to the point where they simply cannot be “drafted” to work overtime. Deputies worked back-to-back-to-back double shifts and mandatory overtime spots making them no longer available to be forced back to work. The result of this mismanagement is an overworked, understaffed, and patently unsafe working environment for the rank and file, specifically those working in stations that no longer have the required staffing levels to ensure their safety and the safety of the communities they service.
The staffing crisis began with the BOS defunding, in 2020, which was two-fold; a result of the contentious relationship between the Board and Sheriff Alex Villanueva which ensued immediately upon him taking office in December, 2018, and as a response to the George-Floyd-Use-of-Force incident leading to his death that sparked a global civil uprising.
In 2022, according county statistics, surrounding contract cities pay LASD to provide policing coverage averaging between 3-3.5 deputies per 1000 people, coverage in unincorporated L.A. County, funded solely and approved by the Board of Supervisors was at an all time low, 0.9 deputies per 1000 people, even though residents in this area are subject to the same tax rate as contract cities. Sheriff Villanueva continued to be at war with the BOS who control approximately $40 billion of county money until he was voted out of office in November of 2022.
Newly elected Sheriff Robert Luna has made little to no strides with respect to hiring additional personnel despite the county granting him additional funding in May 2023.
Retired Captain Mike Bornman had this to say about the current working conditions at LASD: “I continue to pray for my brothers and sisters in the LASD who are valiantly working under these conditions. I also pray that they all come home safe to their families as they navigate this unsustainable burden.
This most recent revelation makes their jobs increasingly difficult. This message also serves as a warning to the sheriff, who better wake up to this reality before one of our people gets seriously injured or killed due to his mismanagement.”
As the largest Sheriff’s Department in the country tasked with serving and protecting millions of residents suffers from a severe shortage in patrols and tanking morale among the rank and file, the war to restore public safety has now becomes personal as a result of management decisions which puts the safety of the citizens of LA County at a significantly higher risk.